World Cruise of the "Great White Fleet"
December 1907 - February 1909
Commanders



During the first leg of the voyage the Fleet included four divisions of four battleships each, six destroyers and five auxiliaries:
First Division (RAdm. R.D. Evans): Battleships Connecticut (Fleet and Division Flagship), Kansas, Vermont, Louisiana.
Second Division (RAdm. W.H. Emory): Battleships Georgia (Division Flagship), New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia.
Third Division (RAdm. C.M. Thomas): Battleships Minnesota (Division Flagship), Ohio, Missouri, Maine.
Fourth Division (RAdm. C.S. Sperry): Battleships Alabama (Division Flagship), Illinois, Kearsarge, Kentucky.
Torpedo Flotilla: Destroyers Whipple, Truxtun, Lawrence, Stewart, Hopkins, Hull, and the Auxiliary Arethusa.
Other Auxiliaries included: Store Ships Culgoa and Glacier; Repair Ship Panther and the dispatch vessel Yankton.

There were several changes after the Atlantic Fleet arrived on the U.S. West Coast. In addition to replacement of some of the commanders by other officers, two former Pacific Fleet battleships were substituted for the uneconomical steamers Maine and Alabama, the torpedo flotilla was detached, and a hospital ship added. The fleet's composition then became:
First Division (RAdm. C.S. Sperry): Battleships Connecticut (Fleet and Dvision Flagship), Kansas, Vermont, Minnesota.
Second Division (RAdm. R. Wainwright): Battleships Georgia (Division Flagship), Nebraska, New Jersey, Rhode Island<.
Third Division (RAdm. W.H. Emory): Battleships Louisiana (Division Flagship), Virginia, Ohio, Missouri.
Fourth Division (RAdm. S. Schroeder): Battleships Wisconsin (Division Flagship), Illinois, Kearsarge, Kentucky
Auxiliaries: Store Ships Culgoa and Glacier; Repair Ship Panther, dispatch vessel Yankton and Hospital Ship Relief.

During the remainder of its Earth-circling voyage, Fleet organizational changes were relatively minor. Rear Admiral Schroeder replaced Rear Admiral Emory in command of the Third Division, and was in turn replaced by Rear Admiral W.P. Potter as commander of the Fourth Division. Store Ship Glacier was detached, as was the Hospital Ship Relief, whose ordeal in a western Pacific storm demonstrated her unseaworthiness. Battleships Maine and Alabama, whose excessive coal consumption had hindered the Fleet's movements during the Atlantic to Pacific phase of the cruise, steaed westward on an accelerated schedule, arriving back on the U.S. East Coast in October 1908.

On 17-21 February 1909, as the rest of the ships crossed the Atlantic en route home, they were rejoined by the Maine and several other warships, whose new-style grey paint contrasted with beautiful (but impractical) white and buff of the "Great White Fleet" battleships. The new arrivals included, in addition to Maine: battleships Mississippi, Idaho and New Hampshire; armored cruisers North Carolina and Montana; and scout cruisers Chester, Birmingham, and Salem. All of these ships had been completed 1n 1908.

This page features views of the senior commanders of the "Great White Fleet".

Additional pictorial coverage of the "Great White Fleet":



Click photograph for a larger image.

Photo #: NH 41652

Callao, Peru


Halftone reproduction of a decorative view of Callao harbor, with its lighthouse in the forground, published in a book of Peruvian scenes presented by the Government of Peru to each of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet's officers on the occasion of the "Great White Fleet"'s visit to Peru, 20-29 February 1908.
Portraits of the Fleet's four senior commanders are vignetted in the corners. They are, clockwise from upper left:
Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans, Commander in Chief, U;.S. Atlantic Fleet, and of the First Division of the First Squadron;
Rear Admiral Charles M. Thomas, Commander of the Fleet's Second Squadron and its Third Division;
Rear Admiral (seen here as a Captain) William H. Emory, Commander of the Fleet's Second Division; and
Rear Admiral Charles S. Sperry, Commander of the Fleet's Fourth Division.
A representation of Peru's coat of arms is featured in the picture's bottom center and a stylized version of the United States' eagle and shield emblem is at the top.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 195KB; 900 x 810 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 91418

"Great White Fleet" World Cruise, 1907-1909


U.S. Atlantic Fleet's Senior Officers and their Flag Lieutenants on the occasion of their visit to the Governor-General of Australia. Taken by the Vice-Regal Photographers.
Those present are, seated, left to right:
Rear Admiral William H. Emory, Commander, Third Division;
Rear Admiral Charles S. Sperry, Commander in Chief;
Rear Admiral Seaton Schroeder, Commander, Fourth Division; and
Rear Admiral Richard Wainwright, Commander, Second Division.
Standing, left to right:
Lieutenant Robert W. Henderson, Aid to RAdm. Emory;
Lieutenant Daniel W. Wurtsbaugh, Aid to RAdm. Sperry;
Lieutenant Thomas T. Craven, Aid to RAdm. Schroeder; and
Lieutenant Stephen C. Rowan, Aid to RAdm. Wainwright.

Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 119KB; 900 x 645 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 106140

Atlantic Fleet Commanders


Halftone reproduction of a photograph by H.R. Jackson, showing the Fleet's senior commanders on board ship, circa late 1908 or early 1909, during or shortly after the "Great White Fleet"'s World cruise.
Those present are, from left to right:
Rear Admiral William P. Potter, Commander, Fourth Division;
Rear Admiral Seaton Schroeder, Commander, Third Division;
Rear Admiral Charles S. Sperry, Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet and First Division;
Rear Admiral Richard Wainwright, Commander, Second Division.
Copied from "Pictorial Log of the Battle Fleet Cruise Around the World", by Chief Turret Captain Roman J. Miller (A.C. McClurg & Co., Chicago, Illinois, 1909).

Collection of Chief Quartermaster John Harold.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 98KB; 635 x 675 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 106143

Atlantic Fleet Senior Commanders, Staff Officers and Ship Commanding Officers


Halftone reproduction of a photograph by H.R. Jackson, showing the officers on board ship, circa early 1909, during or shortly after the "Great White Fleet"'s World cruise.
The admirals seated in the middle of the front row are, from left-center to right-center:
Rear Admiral William P. Potter, Commander, Fourth Division;
Rear Admiral Seaton Schroeder, Commander, Third Division;
Rear Admiral Charles S. Sperry, Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet and First Division;
Rear Admiral Richard Wainwright, Commander, Second Division.
Copied from "Pictorial Log of the Battle Fleet Cruise Around the World", by Chief Turret Captain Roman J. Miller (A.C. McClurg & Co., Chicago, Illinois, 1909).

Collection of Chief Quartermaster John Harold.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 137KB; 900 x 700 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 59552

World Cruise of the "Great White Fleet", 1907-1909


Commanding officers of most of the fleet's ships, photographed in 1908.

Those present are identified in Photo # NH 59552 (Complete Caption).

Donation of Captain Donald I. Thomas, USN(Retired), 1971.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 128KB; 900 x 735 pixels

 


Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans was the Atlantic Fleet's Commander in Chief during the first leg of its World cruise. He suffered from ill health during much of this time, and was replaced upon the Fleet's arrival in California waters.

Photo #: NH 49662

Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans, USN


Photograph by Gessford, New York City, circa 1901.

Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Washington, D.C.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 57KB; 590 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 98480

Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans, USN


Halftone reproduction of a photograph copyrighted by Enrique Muller in 1907, and published circa 1908 by F. Ficke, 1778 Post Street, San Francisco, California.
Rear Admiral Evans commanded the "Great White Fleet" during the first leg of its 1907-1909 voyage around the World.

Collection of Martin Fenne.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 74KB; 525 x 765 pixels

 


Rear Admiral William H. Emory commanded the Atlantic Fleet's Second and Third Divisions during much of the World cruise.

Photo #: NH 74071-A

Rear Admiral William Hensley Emory, USN
,
Commander, Second Division, U.S. Atlantic Fleet

Portrait photograph, 1907.
See Photo # NH 74071 for the full image of the original print and mat, featuring a September 1907 inscription from RAdm. Emory to Admiral George Dewey.
At that time, RAdm. Emory flew his flag in USS Georgia (Battleship # 15).

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 78KB; 540 x 765 pixels

 


Rear Admiral Charles M. Thomas commanded the Atlantic Fleet's Third Division during the World cruise's first leg. He briefly commanded the entire Fleet after its arrival in California waters and died suddenly soon after transferring the fleet command to Rear Admiral Charles S. Sperry.

Photo #: NH 106142

Rear Admiral Charles Mitchell Thomas, USN


Portrait photograph, taken circa 1905-1908.

Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Washington, D.C. Collection of Rear Admiral C.M. Thomas.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 38KB; 455 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 85216-KN (Color)

Great White Fleet at Sea, the Second Squadron, Dec. 1907

Painting by Henry Reuterdahl, depicting Rear Admiral Charles M. Thomas on board USS Minnesota (Battleship # 22) during the Atlantic Fleet's cruise around the World. The artist has inscribed the work to Rear Admiral Thomas.

Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC.
Donation of Miss Ruth Thomas.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 115KB; 740 x 595 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 77188

Rear Admiral Charles Mitchell Thomas, USN,

Commander, Second Squadron, U.S. Atlantic Fleet

Returning to his flagship, USS Minnesota (Battleship # 22), probably during the "Great White Fleet"'s visit to San Francisco, California, in the spring of 1908.
Photo by the Pillsbury Picture Company.
Note sideboys rendering honors as RAdm. Thomas comes aboard.

Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1973.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 50KB; 440 x 765 pixels

 


Rear Admiral Charles S. Sperry commanded the Atlantic Fleet's Fourth Division during the World cruise's first leg. After the Fleet's arrival in California waters he took command of the entire fleet, and led it during the remainder of its World cruise.

Photo #: NH 44851-A

Rear Admiral Charles Stillman Sperry, USN
,
Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

Portrait photograph, taken at Tokyo by Mitsukoshi & Co. in October 1908, during the "Great White Fleet"'s visit to Japan.
See Photo # NH 44851 for a wider version of this image, showing its inscriptions.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 74KB; 565 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 44854

Rear Admiral Charles S. Sperry, USN
,
Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (center)

At Yokohama in October 1908, during the "Great White Fleet"'s visit to Japan.
Also present are an unidentified diplomat (left) and Lieutenant Daniel W. Wurtsbaugh, USN, Flag Lieutenant to RAdm. Sperry (right).

Collection of Lieutenant Commander Richard Wainwright, Jr., 1928.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 121KB; 900 x 705 pixels

 


Rear Admiral Richard Wainwright commanded the Atlantic Fleet's Second Division during the last part of the World cruise.

Photo #: NH 42506

Captain Richard Wainwright, USN


Portrait photograph, taken circa 1903-1908.

Collection of Lieutenant Commander Richard Wainwright, Jr., 1928.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 79KB; 560 x 765 pixels

 


Rear Admiral Seaton Schroeder commanded the Atlantic Fleet's Fourth and Third Divisions during much of the World cruise.

Photo #: 19-N-13129

Rear Admiral Seaton Schroeder, USN


Portrait photograph, taken circa 1908-1911.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Online Image: 80KB; 500 x 765 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

 


Rear Admiral William P. Potter commanded the Atlantic Fleet's Fourth Division during the World cruise's final months.

Photo #: NH 106141

Rear Admiral William Parker Potter, USN


Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken on board ship in September 1908 - June 1909, during or shortly after the "Great White Fleet"'s World cruise.
Rear Admiral Potter commanded the Atlantic Fleet's Second and Fourth Divisions during this time.
Copied from "Pictorial Log of the Battle Fleet Cruise Around the World", by Chief Turret Captain Roman J. Miller (A.C. McClurg & Co., Chicago, Illinois, 1909).

Collection of Chief Quartermaster John Harold.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 58KB; 375 x 765 pixels

 



For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions





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